If Not of Faith
Donald P. Ames
In times such as the church is facing today, many have not yet been as exposed to the trends and pressures of institutionalism as others have who travel more or are in more exposed positions. Hence, many are still studying and perhaps fail to see the same alarm shared by some. While the attitude of open study should be constantly explored and kept open in search of truth, we must also be careful how we handle ourselves while we are still studying.
Whether this is an issue of faith or opinion, vital or insignificant, there are still principles to be maintained while studying. Many, still in doubt on this subject or not well enough versed to really rise up in opposition, admit their minds are not yet made up. However, when someone within a congregation begins to push a contribution to be made to an orphan home or to the Herald of Truth, etc., rather than object and risk being called an "anti" or put on the spot for detailed arguments against it, they just remain silent.
Paul, in Rom. 14:23, points out that "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." He was not here talking of whether or not a given thing was scriptural (in fact, in this case it was), but rather whether or not it was entered into with conviction or misgivings. If in doubt, he advised us to leave it alone, or we would be violating our conscience and guilty of sin for going ahead, even if the thing engaged in were right in and of itself. Certainly with the problems associated with institutionalism today, one cannot say, "I haven't made up my mind so I won't say anything in objection to going ahead."
This also involves another conclusion. Those so engaged today must be those who have made up their minds they are right in such practices. Thus, they are obligated to defend (scripturally) such, or acknowledge it cannot be done and quit such practices (Jude 3, I Pet. 3:15, etc). Brethren, are you walking by faithboth scripture and conviction?
57 Long Beach Rd.
Truth Magazine X: 4, p. 11 January 1965